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Greenwood: Dombrowski Era had its moments of pain, elation

By alan greenwood | Sep 29, 2019

Alan Greenwood

The two sides to the Dave Dombrowski silver dollar:

Side 1: He loves finding ways to make his club a championship contender regardless of the cost.

Side 2: He is willing to shred long-term goals to get there.

Since the Major League Baseball business induces headaches for at least one English major, admittedly this is a very simplistic definition. There is a maze of dollar signs front offices must navigate to reach the promised land.

But John Henry made his reasoning for dumping Dombrowski quite clear Friday: Dombrowski spent too much money.

“Right after the World Series, I think it became clear to me that perhaps we weren’t going to be on the same wavelength going forward,” Henry said. “But I was hopeful throughout the year that maybe that perception would change. It didn’t.”

Henry’s short-term vision is that he wants his ballclub’s player payroll to come under the 2020 luxury tax threshold of $208 million. The 2019 payroll came in at $238 million, a whopping amount to pay for abject mediocrity.

Or perhaps the ever-cool Henry reached a boiling point watching those checks totaling more than $18 million flying out every month to Pablo Sandoval.

Whatever the inspiration, there will be a short-term price to pay for loyal, if impatient, Red Sox fans. It is difficult to envision relief from the club’s glaring pitching woes while sitting out the free agent market. Trading Mookie Betts is a possibility, since he will seek upwards of $20 million per year, but these days teams are wary of swapping proven pitchers regardless of the return.

The farm system is barren of such help.

While Henry and fellow owner Tom Werner vowed to bring in an experience general manager, they also want a GM with whom they can connect philosophically. Werner mentioned the A’s as one franchise the Red Sox could emulate. The A’s, he reasoned, are competitive this season and have been for most of Billy Beane’s reign.

He failed to note that the A’s have won no World Series in the Beane era.

There also should be concern over the possibility that the Red Sox could try a general manager-by-committee. That would produce poorer results than the infamous closer-by-committee.

Whatever path they choose as former spendthrifts, settle in for what promises to be a mundane 2020 season.

TIME TRAVEL: Sept. 29, 1954 – “Taking five of the first seven races and establishing a new Nashua course record, Nashua High unveiled a cross country powerhouse here yesterday to smother the Crimson Tide of Concord under a 17-38 score in the first meet of the 1954 season.

“Making shambles of the course record, Dick Harwood, Nashua’s state-mile champion, hit the tape in 11 minutes, 46 seconds, knocking eight full seconds off the record set in 1949 by Dick Nellson, also of Nashua.”

WELL DESERVED: A great friend and great reporter, Jonny Miller of WBZ radio, has been covering the Red Sox for five decades and Friday was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

In presenting Miller, venerable Boston Globe scribe Dan Shaughnessy compared him to legendary White House reporter Helen Thomas. “Jonny always asks the first question at a press conference.”

Miller also asks the tough questions with no hesitation. “You have to be accountable,” Miller said, “and I am always there the next day.”

Miller has done much for everyone who has covered the Red Sox during his tenure.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248, agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_ Alan.


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